Monday, December 31, 2012

TA-DA!!!

I did it!!  The tally this morning, December 31, 2012, stands at 213 5/8 yards!!  Hooray, hooray, hooray!!  I know some of you did your own "use it" challenge this year -- how did you do?  Let's face it, anytime you use some of the stash, it is good whether is was 12 yards or 200 yards!

And in the process I've finished 25 quilts of all sizes and descriptions -- over half of them were probably to be donated to my favorite causes.  I did 10 other small sewing projects -- pillowcases and such from my stash.  When I add in my knitting projects, I've finished 44 projects this year.  All in all, it has been a good year in the sewing room!!

So now what?  It would be a shame to let the momentum I've established slip away!  I've been thinking about this for several weeks and decided to make my goal for 2013 to finish 13 of my oldest UFQ's.  That might not seem like many but I have to leave time and energy for current projects and teaching samples.  I've spent my spare time the past couple weeks going through the UFQ shelves and picking out my target projects.  So this year, as I work through them, I'll share my progress and ideas. 

Actually, I've already dealt with one of the "olds" when it resurfaced (but it won't count on my tally since I did it in 2012). 

Since closing my quilt shop in 2005, I've become quite adept at repurposing UFQ's.  That's how I handled this one and you might be inspired by my solution to try your hand at repurposing.   Read on!

At the turn of the century (I love saying that), I was still consulting for King's Road Imports creating trade show samples.  The last project I did for them was to "write" a pattern for a design created by a fabric designer to showcase her fabric collection in 2001.  It was a beautiful collection of fabrics inspired by birds, so you know I loved it.  And her quilt design was unique.  But she didn't sew, so piecing her design and writing clear instructions was very challenging.  I got a sample of the quilt together for that season's trade shows, wrote instructions, and we began to make a sample for the shop since I had ordered the collection.  Well as was often the case with gorgeous fabric, it was gone before the sample was finished and the staff was likely struggling with my instructions (not a good thing), so the sample was abandoned and has been safely tucked onto a shelf since then.

Lots of stuff was cut, most of the pieced units for the large trianglar sections around the center were ready to set together, and there was plenty of fabric.  But just looking at the border of turquoise triangles around the center motif brought back memories of struggling and I was not interested in finished this quilt!  It's hard to throw away stuff that you've cut and pieced.  During the past 5 years, I've repurposed dozens of unfinished teaching samples and shop models into some pretty charming quilts -- sometimes smaller than they were intended and sometimes larger.  So that is what I decided to do with this pile of pieces.

There seemed to be enough pieced units to make a crib size quilt.  I cleared off the work wall and put up all the partial units as though I was going to piece them into the big corner sections.  The challenge to any project without a plan is getting started without knowing where you are going.  For me, the best approach is always to put the stuff up on the work wall and then wait for an idea. 

Once the pieces are on the wall, I can see the possibilities more clearly.  By removing the corners of each trianglar section and pushing everything towards the center, an almost complete quilt top emerged.  An evening of sifting through all the cut pieces in the box produced enough additional units to fill the center.  And another evening assembled everything into a finished quilt top perfect for my annual contribution to my guild's community quilts project.  The leftover pieces went into the scrap boxes  to wait for a new destiny.  The leftover fabric went into the stash!!   

It was a great warm-up exercise for revving up my enthusiasm for tackling really old UFQ's!!  I've identified 13 that seemed to be some of the oldest and some of the least done!  Several are tops ready to be quilted.  Several are stacks of blocks ready to set together.  One is about 25 years old.  Another hasn't even been started.  And in the back of my mind, I'm hoping the renewed focus will inspire me to tackle more than the 13 I've set aside. 

What's next?  The Quilted Village from the late 1990's!!  The blocks have been pieced for a decade (thanks to my friends in the long standing Erie Street Friendship group).  The stumbling block has been the embroidery details to be added before the blocks are set together.  Check back soon to see where I go with this one!!

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